With all the things you need to learn and do in order to be successful, is there really one most important real estate success skill?
Yes, because without this skill, your career will be sunk long before you’ve had time to learn the other skills.
What is this important real estate success skill?
The ability to handle rejection and keep on going.
Rejection is a fact of life in sales – any kind of sales.
In fact, Think Tank’s Barbara Corcoran says that rejection is about 90% of what sales is all about. If you can’t handle it, you won’t get far in any sales position.
After 19 years in real estate, first as an agent and later as a broker, I saw many agents fail. The inability to handle rejection was one of the primary reasons why.
A simple “no” would send them back to their desks (or home) for a major pity party. They whined, they complained, they blamed – and did everything but put on a smile and get back in the game.
And then, if their would-be customer chose another agent, it was even worse.
By the way – most of those who gave up on real estate also didn’t take responsibility for the rejection or try to learn from it.
Rejection can be a learning experience…
Quite often the rejection has nothing to do with the agent and everything to do with other people and events in a would-be client’s life. But it’s still a good idea to consider whether you bear some responsibility. Learning from your mistakes will serve to make you a better, more successful agent.
Begin by understanding the many reasons why someone would reject you.
- The first step is realizing that yes, you may have been rejected due to something you said or did (or didn’t say or do).
- Second is realizing that things aren’t always all about you.
Since it just might be something you did or didn’t do or say, think about it.
Understanding might be found in looking at where in the process you were rejected.
- If you’re responding to leads and getting no response, it could be that you didn’t respond fast enough. Someone beat you to it. Or, it could be that your response wasn’t appealing.
- What are you saying when you respond? Is your message filled with “I’m wonderful” or does it focus on giving information and helping that prospect?
- If you invite prospects to your website and to your agent bio, what will they find there? Generic nothingness or a site filled with information and a bio that reveals your personality?
- If prospects wander away at some point between the initial contact and meeting in person, is it because you weren’t consistent in following up every few days? Did you respond as quickly as possible any time they tried to contact you?
If you were rejected after a listing presentation, mentally go over what you said and did.
- Could you answer all of your prospect’s questions? If not, did you promise to get answers and then do so?
- Did you talk too much about yourself and your wonderful systems? If they kept looking at the time, or saying “Yes, I know that,” the answer is yes.
- If you presented a market analysis, was it clear and believable?
- Were you able to explain the paperwork and the selling process concisely?
- When you toured the house did you focus only on what was negative rather than positive? A friend told me about selling her home on Mercer Island. The first agent she called told her everything wrong with the house: The bedrooms were too small, it was too near a highway, she could hear traffic noises, etc. The agent she chose focused on the positives and gave tips on getting the house ready for sale.
If you were rejected by a buyer, think about why.
Did you pay close attention to what they wanted before you took them on home tours? I’ve heard many tales from buyers saying they told the agent they wanted this, this, and this, and the agent showed the homes that were almost opposite. For instance, a buyer who wanted a home on a quiet cul-de-sac was instead shown homes on busy through-streets.
It happened to me, a few years before I was licensed. We were looking for fixers and told an agent that we were interested in houses that needed cosmetic repairs. Every time she pulled up in front of another house she’d gush something along the lines of: “You’ll love this. They’ve just finished a complete remodel.”
Did you push hard for the buyer to make a decision? We experienced that too. Another agent showed us 3 homes, then went back to the office to use her version of the “Ben Franklin Close” and insist that we choose one of them. Of course, we did not.
Did you check the MLS daily and let them know when a good possibility came up? Or did you wait for them to call and ask to see a specific house?
Examine what you did. If you see something you should have done or said differently, make a note of it for next time. Then set it aside and move on. Being honest with yourself is also an important real estate success skill.
Handling rejection is easier when you realize that it may have nothing to do with you.
- It could be that your buyers or sellers were suddenly reminded that they have a relative in real estate – and could feel pressured to use them instead of you.
- It could be that the potential buyers realized their financial limitations and didn’t want to buy any of the homes they can afford.
- Or, they could have changed their minds for another very personal reason. Twice in one summer I had transactions fall through mere days before closing because the buyers decided to get a divorce instead of a house.
Sadly, it could also be that they were simply using you.
Buyers might have an agent whose time they “don’t want to waste” showing them homes, so they waste yours. I’ve seen it happen, and the buyer wasn’t even ashamed of herself.
And, strange as it might seem, they may have had no intention of purchasing a home or anything else. I recall one agent who showed homes to the same people every summer. One day he simply asked, “Do have other hobbies in addition to touring homes?” Startled, they admitted that this was their favorite hobby.
Listing prospects will also use you.
Potential listing clients might have no desire to sell, but want to know what their home is worth, either for personal curiosity or for settling an estate.
Yes, I’ve seen that too. My former neighbor did that when his wife passed away. He asked me to recommend a local agent and I refused because I knew he had no intention of selling. Since he was quite well-to-do I suggested he call an appraiser and pay for the service.
So – his daughter-in-law called someone in a neighboring town and lied to him instead. The man drove 60 miles and spent a half day touring the 80 acres, home, and outbuildings before he prepared a market analysis.
Others may be sure they can sell without an agent, but do want a market analysis or two before offering their home for sale.
Understanding that it isn’t always about you should cause you to ask better questions and pay attention to the answers. Answers to questions like “How soon do you need to move?” and “Have you been working with any other agents” should help you decide if these are real prospects.
It’s also a good reason to ask buyers to sign a buyer-broker agreement.
Recognizing fake prospects is yet another important real estate success skill.
9 more ways to triumph over rejection
Stop and listen to your self-talk. Are you telling yourself stories that bring you down or lift you up? It may seem unbelievable to you, but if you go into a listing presentation thinking that you’ll be rejected, you will almost always be correct.
Limit your self-criticism to seeing your mistakes and correcting them. You’re allowed to have a pity party, but only if you’re alone or with family, and only if you limit it to about 15 minutes. After that, pick yourself up and get back to work.
Keep educating yourself, so you truly become a buyer’s or seller’s best choice. When you know that you know, you have confidence that shows in your speech, mannerisms, and posture. Get to that place – and then keep on learning.
Focus. If you’ve claimed a neighborhood, learn everything there is to know about it. If you’ve chosen a niche, learn all you can about it and the issues those clients face. Then focus your marketing efforts on people who fit the niche.
Tell people what they need to know rather than what they want to hear, but do it with a kind and gentle touch.
Refrain from whining to other agents when you lose a client. If you need to rant about it, go ahead, but do it at home. When you’re at work, put a smile on your face and get busy contacting that next prospect.
Prospect consistently and wisely. When your pipeline is filled with future clients, losing one occasionally will not be devastating.
- Using email: Set up capture forms on your website, follow up those leads immediately, then stay in touch until they turn into clients or tell you to stop. If you purchase email leads, do the same.
- By postal mail: Purchase or compile good mailing lists and use letters and postcards to show homeowners that you are the agent who has knowledge about their neighborhood or niche.
Stay in touch with past clients and people in your sphere – via email, postal mail, phone calls, and in-person contact. These people are important. And, going back to self-talk, remind yourself that these people love you and the work you did for them. Cherish every referral and testimonial as evidence or your worth as an agent. Remembering to say thank you seems a small thing, but it is an important real estate success skill.
Take care to send messages that attract, rather than repel.
Sending the right message is an important real estate success skill. Your messages will be welcomed when they are interesting, informative, and more than a sales pitch.
Write good “reader centered” letters – or choose from one of the dozens of letter sets I wrote for your use. Find them at: https://www.copybymarte.com/prospecting-letters/
Confidence and self-assurance are important real estate success skills – and the best insurance against becoming crushed by rejection.
Those come from two things:
- “Knowing your stuff”
- Having an abundance of prospects
Get to that place and the next time someone rejects what you’re offering you can smile and say “OK. Next.”